Tag Archives: oscar

My film – Written, Directed, Filmed, and Edited by Jonathan Schwab, without any editorial input or control by Lewis Schaffer.

2 Feb

2 February 2013 Saturday Nunhead Heights

Two days ago I was in a panic over Jonathan Schwab’s film. I didn’t want anyone to see it.

The film makes me look fat, sweaty, failed, still failing, and small time. In other words, it is realistic.

See the film here until 7th February when it will be withdrawn for film festival entry. Lewis Schaffer / Free until Famous by Jonathan Schwab.

At one point, the filmmaker, a German, filmed me bending over to pick up coins that had fallen on the floor of my Soho venue. Coins that were given to me at the end of my ‘free’ show. I predict that someday the scene will be used in anti-Semitic propaganda films. If I didn’t know the filmmaker Jonathan Schwab, I would have thought he was being evil.

I am filmed saying my life is ‘tragic’. My life isn’t any more tragic than any one who has squandered a million opportunities and accomplished little. But there I was, saying ‘I’m tragic’.

Most people who have seen the film think it’s amazing. The FILM is amazing.

Amazing in the same way a David Attenborough footage of a whale chasing a seal is amazing. I wouldn’t want to be seen as either the harassing whale or the harassed seal. The whale is never invited to pick up the Bafta (Emmy, in the USA) with Attenborough. The seal, sadly, is dead, and couldn’t attend even if he wanted to.

But this isn’t the film I would have made.

One good friend, though, comic John Monty Smith of Newcastle, felt that viewers who didn’t know me would think I was desperate and pity me.

Lewis, he told me, ‘your story about moving to the UK and fucking up but now you’re on your way back, about Stewart Lee saying he was a little bit envious of you. Tell a couple of jokes and show how you’ve done 300 gigs in the same venue and you’re getting good reviews and are consistent. Maybe talk about your living conditions, etc.’

The narrative John proposed would be good if a filmmaker came up with it himself. One filmmaker, who I won’t name, did.

He had filmed one of the most successful comedians in the world, around the world, and set out to make such a film about my comeback. Up from death to finish the race. He filmed me a few times, seeing me die horribly under the pressure, and never called me again.

He probably ran because the story line isn’t true, no matter how many times I’ve postulated it. I wanted everyone to believe I was ‘coming back’ and I wanted to believe it, too.

I wasn’t a somebody when I was in New York to come back to. I haven’t changed all that much as comic, in the past 20 years. I am not any more consistent.

The only difference is that the comedy industry or the comedy community – which isn’t industrious or a community – have gotten used to my inconsistency and now seem to enjoy it. Their appreciation has given me the confidence to be even more inconsistent.

If I did have total control over a film about me it would be a bland as those BBC FOUR documentaries which are produced by the artist’s own company – the Bon Jovi film comes to mind – ‘When We Were Beautiful’.

Self-authored films can only be mildly interesting because they never get down and dirty.

‘Why, Mr Bongiovi’, I wanted the film to ask, ‘do you insist on pretending that Bon Jovi is a band of brothers when you own the entire lot and the others just work for you?’

There are alot of those kind of moments in my film. I mean, Jonathan Schwab’s film. 

Now I am in a panic that not everyone who matters is going to see me in MY film.

Lewis Schaffer / Free until Famous by Jonathan Schwab.

*Stewart Lee, for my American readers, is one of the two or three most respected comics in the Britain, and a leader of the new comedy generation, if there can be a leader of that. He name checked me in his latest DVD and did not trash me, which was really nice. Then again, I wasn’t asked to be on his TV show for ‘alternative’ comedians.]

New Shows at the Leicester Square Theatre
Lewis Schaffer’s American Guide to England
Every Sunday from March 3rd. 6PM. £10 ($16)
www.leicestersquaretheatre.com

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow 

Frankie Boyle has made a mistake in suing for libel.

17 Oct

1 PM Wednesday 17 October 2012 Nunhead Heights

The funniest review I’ve gotten was from an Edinburgh festival magazine a few years back for my second Edinburgh show ‘Lewis Schaffer is Bigger and Blacker’. I was called ‘mildly racist’ and given only One Star.

If someone thinks I’m a racist, even a ‘mild’ one, it means one of three things:

A) I’ve failed in my job as a comic to make the jokes work. B) The people who think I’m a racist are too stupid to get the jokes and I’ve wasted my life trying to make stupid people laugh. Or C) I really am a racist and need to reevaluate my act and myself.

Frankie Boyle told some jokes on his TV programme Tramadol Nights that some viewers found racist, including people at the Daily Mirror newspaper. It was printed in the Daily Mirror that Frankie Boyle is ‘racist’. Frankie Boyle is suing the paper for libel claiming he is not a racist.

I don’t think Frankie Boyle is a racist. He mocks racists. One has to assume that he’s smart enough not to use the n-word anywhere close to a hateful way. Even real racists aren’t that stupid.

But that’s just my opinion.

When I first moved to London I was booed off stage at Battersea Jongleurs comedy club. I had said: ‘I hate Jews. Not all Jews. Just two Jews: My parents.’ The booing started after ‘I hate Jews’. The audience did hate me from the beginning of my set but they had stopped listening at that point.

When a comic uses the N-word many people turn off and assume that anything the comic is saying will be derogatory to black people. Most Brits don’t want to hear anything even ‘mildly racist’ – I’ve learned that the hard way.

Like at Battersea, the Daily Mirror people didn’t like Frankie Boyle from the start. It could be because of his unkind jokes about the swimmer Rebecca Adlington nose or Harvey, the sad son of Katie Price. The Daily Mirror editors had probably just turned off Frankie Boyle and didn’t hear his other jokes.

Frankie Boyle wants to prove the Mirror wrong. His method is madness.

He wants his jokes heard by another audience – this time a jury of 12 of his peers in an English court. He is trying to make this into one of those Hollywood movies where they replay the big high school football game twenty years later and his team wins.

He must know from Lenny Bruce’s court appearances that jokes meant for hearing after the watershed in a darkened club or living room are rarely as funny at 10 in the morning in a brightly lit courtroom.

I bet that most of those 12 jurors aren’t natural Frankie Boyle fans, either. Even the warm and cuddly Michael McIntyre has detractors.

This trial can end very badly for Frankie Boyle.

If he loses he will be a court-certified racist. ‘Frankie Boyle is a racist says Court!’ The tv channels will think twice about giving someone controversial a shot. And then he’ll be saddled with massive legal debts. Who knows what else. His outcome may not be as bad as Justin Lee Collins’ outcome, where Collins’ career is ruined, and he may not go the route of Oscar Wilde after Wilde’s ill-conceived libel trial, which killed Wilde, but I have a very bad feeling about this.

Alternatively, if the jury finds him to have been libeled it will have one more chilling affect on the freedom of the press in Britain which is already being frozen from every side.

I don’t agree with the Mirror but we need to let the press be free to print what it believes. Even if those stupid, stupid people call us racists.

What do you think about this?

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

John Fleming's blog - SO IT GOES

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

Nunhead Nags

A blog about Nunhead regeneration

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

John Fleming's blog - SO IT GOES

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

Nunhead Nags

A blog about Nunhead regeneration

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic